Saturday, November 30, 2013

Olá! Tudo bem?
This week went fast and was great. Time is a funny thing. I never know where it goes, but at the same time I kindof feel like I´ve been in Brazil for years. This week I officially reached my 1 month mark in Brazil! Crazy stuff. And we find out about transfers this week as well. Sister Jales and I are thinking we will very likely stay together here in Campos Eliseos since we are still in 12 week training, but you never know. Sister Jales has been in this area for her whole mission. She may not be here for long.
This week the mother of Ana Furlam (a 19 girl in our ward) passed away. She had had some kind of heart problem for a long time and had actually been bed-ridden for 12 years. Ana is an only child and her parents are divorced so this hit her pretty hard. It is interesting the way they do funerals here. Her mom died late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning they had the body ready to go and flowers all set up in the Church. Then members and friends came and stayed all day at the Church talking and supporting the Furlams. We spent a long time there are tried to help Ana the best we could. Since we are pretty much the only other people there her age I think we were able to make more of a difference. That afternoon she was buried in the huge cemetary in our town. It was all finished in one day, no huge preparations or ceremonies or talks or anything. I liked the way the do not mourn and think about the burial and death for weeks. It was a neat experience to see the different cultural ways of doing things.
On the other hand, we also had two births this week. Two of the Elders´ investigators were baptized on Saturday! They are awesome and have huge testimonies. They are Mariana and Nezia. Mariana loves the missionaries and had actually already had us over for almoço twice this week with the Elders. She is a super chef and reminds me of your amazing cooking mom. Just not quite as good as you. So the baptisms went really well and they were both very happy. My favorite part of batisms is always when they walk in the room all dressed in white! The Spirit is so strong and they look so clean and new. Baptisms are such happy times.
We had another clean sweep of our Area Book this week, even more than before. Since we do 140 contacts every week, we always have tons of addresses and names to make return visits to. Previously none of thes Potential Investigators were organized at all and it was basically impossible to the to figure out were they live and who lives close to who etc. This week we organized them all by street and sent off lots of names as referrals for other areas. It was very successful and I feel more like I know how to work successfully in this area.
Sebastião is on fire! I have never seen someone so dedicated to this gospel who is so new to it and has no family supporting him to do this. He lives alone but faithfully comes to Church every week and is willing and ready to have us come visit and teach a lesson even with only a few hours of notice. He likes to talk a lot so our lessons are always pretty long but he is really soaking up the gospel and gaining a strong testimony. I think he reads the Book of Mormon more than I do. I believe he will be one who will never fall away.
Last week I forgot to say that I gave my first talk in Sacrament Meeting! I was pretty nervous and gave a very simple, but heartfelt talk on prayer. It was a bit crazy because it was the same day as Sebastião´s baptism and they asked me to speak 30 minutes into the first hour (we have Relief Society, then Sunday School, then Sacrament Meeting) so I had a lot of things running through my mind. Luckily, they asked me last minute last week too but it happened to be the Primary Program so I didn´t speak then. I prepared a sketchy layout of a talk last week just in case they asked me again, and yes they did. It was interesting though, I´ve found with talks now that I am always nervous before I go up there but once I start talking there is no turning back and I generally am more calm during the talk. It went well and a member told me that they felt the Spirit strongly during my testimony which is all I really wanted. First talk down!
My music is going crazy. They like to ask you to do a lot of things here last minute actually. I played for the baptism and Elder Ruberson sang a musical number. We also did a musical number the next day in Sacrament Meeting and I played for Sacrament Meeting. A few of the hymns have a little different rhythms with the different words in Portuguese so I have to be careful and really read the music! I am very grateful for the chance I had to play at home during Church lots of times to prepare me for this day. The hardest part actually is listening really carefully to hear the number of the hymn that is coming up. They don´t use programs and my high numbers in Portuguese still aren´t the best so I have to pay attention really carefully! Oh and a strong member of the ward (Paola and Fabio (the first second councilor in the bishopric)) asked me to teach piano lessons to their two girls for our hour of service so they can learn the hymns. The only music we have is the hymnbook and I´m pretty sure they are not quite ready for that so I´m going to have to be creative. We start this week and we´ll see how it goes.
One other exciting event of the week is that I taught two full lessons by myself! The first one was a contact that turned into a street Restoration lesson. Sister Jales left me hanging out to dry and didn´t say anything. It was really hard but I know it was important to training and I feel more comfortable and confident in my teaching now. I can get the point across more or less. Then yesterday we were teaching a past investigator of a woman and her mom. Sister Jales started talking to the investigator and I started talking to her mom and they turned into two different lessons. I actually had a good back and forth conversation with her for 20-30ish minutes and it was a really cool experience. Portuguese is awesome! I want to learn every word in this language.

I love you all! Thanks so much for all of your love!
Sister Marchant

P.S. Congrats dad on all of your hard work!
P.P.S. Sorry I don´t really respond to your emails. I will do this in letters when I have more time.
P.P.P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!

Olá Presidente!
Foi uma semana muito boa. Eu me sinto como se esteja crescendo e aprendendo mais com cada dia. A linguá é mais fácil agora e as vezes eu estou pensando e orando em Português sem perceber. Síster Jales e eu estamos tornando-nos boas amigas e estamos trabalhando melhor juntos. Nossas números esta semana não foi muito bom, mas fizemos outros coisas importantes por exemplo ajudando Ana Furlan com a funeral de sua mãe e arrumando nosso livro de área ainda mais. Eu me sinto muito mais organizada agora e tipo eu sei mais do que expectar com cada dia.
Sebastião continua crescer muito desde seu batismo. Ele ama a igreja e tem muito fé. Ele fez muitos comentários na igreja ontem e disse que agora ele sabe sem duvida que o Livro de Mórmon é completamente verdadeiro. Ele está mais feliz cada vez que nós o vemos, e ele continua aceitar tudo da igreja. É uma bênção para ensinar um homem tão pronto e disposto aprender. Esta semana ensinamos sobre o sacerdócio e ele está preparando receber o Sacerdócio Aarônico. Ele é ótimo!
Também ensinamos Paula e Anderson e sua filha Carol esta semana. Estão tendo umas poucas dificuldades, especialmente com a Palavra de Sabedoria. Vamos continuar os apoiar e convidamos focalizar no Livro de Mórmon para orientação. Eu tenho fé que eles poderão conquistar todos seus tentações e provações. O Senhor vai mandar milagres.
Eu já tenho um mês no Brasil! Foi muito rápido e eu já me sinto como uma pessoa completamente diferente. Esta obra é difícil, mas eu a amo e eu sei que isto está mudando minha vida. Eu sempre quero ser a missionária que o Senhor quer que seja.

Obrigado por tudo,
Síster Marchant

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello fam!
We had our first baptism this week!!!!!!!!!! WWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a kindof crazy but very exciting day. So we were planning on having it on Saturday but then we couldn´t get a member of the bishopric to come so we had to reschedule for Sunday before Church. It was going to start at 8:00, but you know Brazilians, no one comes to anything on time so by 8:30 people started to slowly show up. Then somehow the keys to the main closet were lost so we couldn´t get a jumpsuit ready for him! I don´t really know exactly what happened, but we eventually found the keys and ended up having the baptism actually during the second hour before Gospel Doctrine. It worked out well because all of the other investigators who were at Church were able to watch and there was a lot of support. It was hard however because we had a whole program planned out but were unable to do most of it. All is well though, the ordinance is all that really matters and that went great. Sebastião was still able to be confirmed in Sacrament Meeting so he is now officially a member of the Church! It has been so rewarding to watch him grow in the gospel over the last few weeks. He has changed a lot and continues to learn and yearn for the scriptures. It is an honor to have the privilege of teaching him.
On Friday we had a practice for this Christmas choir coming up. It was all day long so Sister Jales went on splits with another missionary. It was really fun and felt awesome to be a part of a good choir again. We still have a lot of work to do but I have a feeling it will go really well. After the practice we all went over to the ice cream shop across the street and bought açai. It is super delicious. It is the blended up berry in kind of like ice cream form with chopped bananas, granola, sweetened condensed milk, and this sweet powdered milk stuff on top. Heaven in my month. And only about 4 dollars for all of that! Totally worth it, and we can pretend it´s healthy because it is a berry. :)
We got caught in my first major rainstorm this week! The rain here is kindof crazy because it comes out of nowhere. In the morning it is sunny and clear so I do not bring my umbrella out as often as i should (it is kind of heavy to carry around in my bag every day). Then at night it comes on with a vengence. We got super soaked one night this week but we still had a few contacts to do so we went for it strong! It was pretty crazy.
Speaking of contacts, we had a few different days this week with that choir practice and Sister Jales had to go to the doctor one day (but we got everything figured out and she is going to be fine, don´t worry), so we were unable to get many contacts a few days. We somehow managed to get 81 on Saturday! I know that the Lord is helping us in whatsoever we need.
The biggest challenge of this week was the culture. The language is actually coming along pretty well. I am starting to really understand people, especially at Church. When we are talking to people on the street I almost always have somewhat of an idea about what we are talking about. The very free, laid back schedule has been a little difficult for me to get used to though. In California everything was extremely straitlaced (kind of like my whole life has been) and we were exactly obedient in every way. Here everything is a little more carefree so it will take me a while to relax and go with the flow. But I am starting to love Brazil more every day and the people we are teaching are really getting into my heart. This is exactly where I need to be! The Lord is teaching me things I never thought I would learn. Life is good.

Sorry this email is not very long today. I took a long time sending pictures in different emails this week. I hope they all came through!

Sister Marchant

P.S. At the beginning of my time here in Brazil I had an interview with the President and he said I could write to him in English for a while because he reads it well and it would be a lot faster for me. This week I will officially reach my 1 month mark (woo!) of time in Brazil so I wanted to start writing in Português. Let me know if this is a problem or if you want me to translate for you. I will hopefully be able to write more in my email to you all now however. (just not this week...)

Olá Presidente!
Esta semana faz uma mês que está no Brasil! Eu quero tentar escrever em Português agora. Meus emails vão ser mais corto mas seria bom para mim começar escrevendo mais em Português.
A semana passado estávamos muito ocupadas e fizemos muitas coisas diferentes. O mais importante, tivemos um batismo! Sebastião (quem você conhece) foi batizado e confirmado ontem. Foi um pouco ocupado por que temos igreja o mesmo tempo, mas ainda foi muito espiritual. Sebastião estava feliz e tinha paz durante todas as reuniões ontem. Os membros foram muito simpáticos também e a experiencia foi muito bom para todo mundo. Foi o primeiro batismo de ambos Síster Jales e eu. Estamos muito felizes para ele e sabemos que ele vai continuar progredir no evangelho.
Estou animado para o coral também! Acho que depois de um pouco mais ensaios será muito bom.
Estou começando acostumar à cultura de Brasil. É um pouco diferente para mim mas estou aprendendo mais todos os dias e estou amando as pessoas aqui mais cada dia. Eu quero amar as pessoas aqui e esta missão com todo minha coração. Eu quero servir exatamente como Deus quer para mim. Eu O ama e eu ama o evangelho. Jesus Cristo faz que tudo que nós experienciamos aqui numa missão vale a pena!
Muito obrigada por responder meus emails. Ainda umas poucas palavras significa muito para mim.
Síster Marchant

Tomara que você possa entender este email!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ola Familia!
It has been quite the week. Yep, it is definitely feeling like summer here! We had a few days of rain actually which was very nice but then four days in a row of super super hot. It is only just beginning but I don´t think I have ever been this hot in my life. The good thing is that there are always tons of people at the ice cream shops to talk to. :)
We had an area 70 come to visit this week! It was Elder Mazagardi (I think that´s how you spell it...). He gave us three zones a two hour training about the mission. I understood bits and pieces here and there but I really felt the Spirit and was rejuvinated to work hard again. Some of the things he encouraged us to do are to read from Preach My Gopsel every day, read 2 Nephi 31 every day, practice a baptismal invite every day in companionship study, to make our contacts more varied and exciting, and to try making contacts with people who live near the Church (and super lucky for us, the Conference was held in Ribeirão Preto in our chapel!). I learned a lot and we have a lot of things to work towards. I played for a small choir who sang the classic, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". They sang only one verse in Portuguese (I didn´t have the translation for any more) and I think it went pretty well. After the Conference they also had these auditions for a choir to sing in the streets at Christmas time. I tryed out and made it for altos! There are 16 of us and it is led by a missionary (Elder Ruberson) who is singing opera at BYU. He has a super good voice. I am excited to be a part of this group and to share some Christmas love in this happy, busy city.
Our weekly planning was truly a miracle. I´m the kind of person who really likes to be organized so I was excited to get everything straightened out (see below). I sometimes feel like I have no idea what is going on here, but I am now starting to get a little bit more into the groove. I know more of what to expect in different situations like almoços and Church and contacts. It is a lot to take in, especially when you cannot really explain how you are feeling but we are working through everything and finding great success. I am really excited for our investigators and to find a lot more of these people. It is ridiculous how trusting people are here. Nearly every other contact we make is willing to give us their name, address, and phone number after just a minute of talking to us. That would never happen in the states! I think it was hard and happy in both California and Brazil, but just a different hard and happy. We teach a lot more lessons here and I feel like we are doing more actual missionary work, but it takes more of a toll on your body. Preparation days every week always get me rejuvinated for the rest of the week though and I think I will be fine!
I have been meaning to tell you about the other two Sisteres in our apartment. Our apartment is actually really big with five rooms and extra beds to make space for other Sisteres to stay with us when they are visiting from out of town for big mission Conferences (like this week, we had just two extra Sisteres stay the night). There are two other Sisteres who live there as well, Sister Huntington (American) and Sister Amorim (Brazilian). Sister Huntington arrived from the states from me, and Sister Amorim has been out for 5 transfers. It is pretty fun to have roommates. Having an American there to speak to in my language and culture at night also helps to keep my spirits up. They are very nice and hard working. They work in the area right next to us (Imparanga) but we pretty much only see them in the morning and after we come home at night. We actually share the ward with another pair of Elderes as well. None of us actually live in the area we are working in (the other pairs have to take the bus every day), but luckily Sister Jales and I live close enough that we can walk. The other Elders are Elder Worthin and Elder Ruberson. They are both Americans and Elder Worthin has been in Brazil for 6 months and Elder Ruberson for three. The members serve all four of us lunch every day, and it is very helpful to have someone to translate if I miss something important. We work together with the ward a lot and are able to help each others´ inverstigators sometimes. I believe that the more missionaries we have out in the world, the easier it will be for us! It is great to have the support of all of these Elders and Sisters who are working towards the same goal and are having similar experiences.
I am gaining a huge testimony of prayer. God really does answer every prayer and is willing to give you any righteous desire of your heart. No matter the trial, God wants to help us and give us support, we must only be humble and come to Him. I am also learning the importance of patience in times of trial and how to give up everything to Him. We can do all things in the strength of the Lord! He has done everthing for us and yet still is willing to give us more. This Church is so true! Everthing will be worth it.

I love you all! Thanks for all the support!
Sister Marchant
P.S. If you ever get a letter from me, please send me a quick little note or email back saying you have recieved it because I never know how reliable the mailing system is. Thanks so much!

Oi Presidente!
We have done a lot of hard work this week. It has been really hot and we have been feeling a little bit sick but I think we are over it now and are better. (don´t worry mom, today I feel great) I have really come to know and appreciate the enabling power of the Atonement and the importance of prayer this week. I know that we can do all things with Christ. He wants to help us and is 100% in charge of this work. What have we to worry about? We are doing great things for the Lord!
This week we had an amazing weekly planning session. We took the time to really go through our Area Book and straighten things out. It had been unorganized and needed a thorough inspection. We found a lot of new names of people we need to visit and of different things we want to do with this area. There really are so many people to teach here! I did not fully realize until this week how much work there is for us to do. I was remotivated about the work and am excited to keep going strong.
We had also had some great lessons with Sebastião and with Paula and Anderson this week. Sebastião loves the scriptures and always shows us something he has read when we come. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he really liked the 5 steps of the gospel. He talks about them every time we see him now as well. We committed him to be baptized this Saturday! He was a little unsure at first and thinks that he is not quite ready yet, but we talked him through a lot of his concerns and I have faith that he can make it. He is still working on giving up coffee but if he can do this I think he will be ready to enter the waters.
Paula and Anderson are making major steps forward. They are living together unmarried and this week we taught them the law of chastity. At our next lesson they said they had thought about it a lot and agreed to work towards getting married! They also made detailed plans to overcome addictions to smoking and drinking coffee and beer. They still have a little ways to go, but they are making huge improvement. They always come to Church and have such strong faith. Their family is truly an inspiration to me. Their daughter, Carol, is also investigating the Church. She comes every Sunday as well and has great friends there. She usually sits in on the lessons, but we are going to really try to focus more on her this week. She is only 11 but has a great desire to learn more and I think she could be ready to join the Church as well in just a few weeks.
We have had some great miracles this week! The people of Ribeirão Preto are very open and willing to talk to us. We had some awesome contacts and are working hard to keep everything organized. We are reaching many of our goals and are striving to work as hard as we can together. It is hard work, but it is very worth it. I know the Lord can help me do all things that he needs me to do.

Síster Marchant